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Improve PCB layout for EMC, ESD, fab yield #37

merged 1 commit into from Nov 13, 2016


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Hey, thanks for this nice project! Actually saw this mentioned on Twitter and bought a couple right away :) Thought I'd have a play around with the sources.

I noticed a few things worth improving on the PCB, so I thought I'd submit a pull request. This commit fully reroutes the PCB, changing:

  • Yield improvements:
    • Wider traces (0.16mm is right at the limit for many cheap fabs, I've had boards fail at that size)
    • Larger annular ring prevents drill breakouts
  • Mechanical robustness:
    • Supporting vias at both ends of the edge pads help prevent them lifting after repeated (ab)use
  • ESD protection:
    • Fly-by routing through the TVS diode and better grounding ensure more reliable clamping of ESD transients, on both data lines and power.
  • EMC:
    • Significantly improved grounding and tighter decoupling will reduce radiated emissions - I do hope nobody decides to perform an emissions test on the version I have ;)

I haven't moved the programming points, so nothing changes for test/flash. I did move the decoupling capacitors - if that's an inconvenience for assembly, I can put them back where they were and keep the rest of the changes, but for EMC purposes they should really go where I moved them to.

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conorpp commented Nov 13, 2016

Wow, awesome job! Looks a lot better.

I had little knowledge about these things until now -- thanks a lot for contributing.

If I find anyone trying to do emission tests, I'll try to make sure they use this revision :)

If you (or anyone else) orders new revision boards from dirtyPCBs or similar fab, please let me know the store link so I can put it on the wiki.

@conorpp conorpp merged commit b9ae195 into conorpp:master Nov 13, 2016
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@cpavlina @conorpp - Out of curiosity, should there be pull-up resistors added for the I2C bus connection between the micro and the encryption coprocessor?

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Ideally yes, but as long as it's working... I assume it's using the resistors internal to the microcontroller, which are probably (NB: didn't read the datasheet) on the order of 50k. That'll give pretty long rise times, but if the bus is running at a low enough clock rate it shouldn't matter, I2C is pretty tolerant. If there ever was data corruption, I'd be looking there, but things seem to work fine.

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conorpp commented Nov 13, 2016

Yes, internal weak pull ups in the microcontroller are used. They didn't seem to be an issue as I never ran into integrity errors during development.

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3 participants